A Special Judge (PC) of Imphal West, Aribam Guneshwar Sharma, on Thursday rejected an anticipatory bail (pre-arrest bail) of Punjab National Bank manager, Kanglatongbi branch, stating that a huge amount of public money for loan under the starup scheme was involved and that there is a need for a proper and thorough investigation.
The bank manager, Singsit Khupeden (38), son of Singsit Thongkhokam of Hmarveng, Churachandpur district, filed an application for interim pre-arrest bail in connection with an FIR for misappropriation of huge subsidised amount and falsely claiming that the loan has been sanctioned under the Manipur Start Up Scheme under CB police station.
The court, according to the application, directed the OC concerned to submit a detailed report regarding the FIR. The additional SP (CID-CB), Imphal has submitted a detailed report of the FIR case.
The FIR was registered on March 2, 2022 following a complaint lodged by Ksh. Soroj Kumar Singh, Manager, PNB, Kanglatongbi Branch, stating that a possible fraud in the Start Up Manipur government scheme has been committed by some officials of the PNB namely, Sh Singsit Khupden, Manager PF No. 0302528 in collusion and conspiracy with other persons.
Counsel of the bank manager, Singsit, submitted that the disbursement of subsidy to the same beneficiary in their respective current account, though not through a specially opened loan account, as is mandated by the bank rules, due to an inadvertent mistake, does not cause any prejudice to the beneficiaries. Counsel also submitted that there is no allegation that the subsidy amount was not received by the genuine beneficiaries specially approved by the government.
On the other hand, special PP submitted that the manager of the Punjab National Bank, Kanglatombi Branch, Singsit Thongkhokam, is the head of the office and that so far, four accused persons have been arrested in connection with the case and out of four, the court has released two on bail but bail prayers for two other accused persons namely Seram Olish and Mayengbam Ibohanbi were denied. It is further submitted that the bank manager, Singsit Thongkhokam, and arrested accused, Ibohanbi, worked out a plan to misappropriate beneficiaries subsidy amount from the government by falsely claiming that loans were sanctioned to the beneficiaries and hence a criminal conspiracy was made.
According to the police report, it is mentioned that the branch manager has loan sanctioning power of Rs 10 lakhs only. It is also mentioned that even though the bank manager, Singsit Thongkhokam, has been examined on 3 (three) different occasions, he is not fully revealing all the elements and he is also refusing to answer some questions related to material evidence. Being the manager of the branch, it is his duty to follow the bank rules, especially when a huge amount of money is involved. It is also submitted that during the further investigation, new co-accused persons are also identified.
The court stated that from the findings and considering the stage of the investigation, since a huge amount of public money is involved, it finds that a proper and thorough investigation must be done in the interest of justice. The court also finds that it will not be proper if the court interferes in the investigation of the case, it stated.
Accordingly, the vourt rejected the pre-arrest bail application and disposed it of.
It may be mentioned that in connection with the case, the court has released Ningombam Maipaksana, 25, son of N Joychand of Bashikhong Kitnapan Imphal East and Nongthombam Rocky, 32, son of N Gambhir of Kongba Uchekon Laikon, Imphal East on bail.
Two alleged accused Seram Olish, 25, son of S Maipak of Kongba Makha Nandeibam Leikai; and Mayengbam Ibohanbi, 41, son of M Nimai of Ngairangbam Makha Maning Leikai, Imphal West are in judicial custody.
The court observed that at the stage of police investigation, the accused Ibohanbi and the bank manager Singsit seem to be the main accused persons in the case. Olish is also involved in the conspiracy as the transactions are done through his account, the court stated.